Human rights groups have called for an immediate investigation into the shooting and killing of a woman in Mozambique after a horrifying clip of the act was shared widely on social media this week.
“The horrendous video is yet another gruesome example of the gross human rights violations taking place in Cabo Delgado by the Mozambican forces,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s director for East and Southern Africa.
In its analysis of the video, Amnesty International says the men were wearing the uniform of the Mozambican military. Amnesty says four different gunmen shot the woman a total of 36 times with AK-47s and PKM-style machine-guns. Its investigation concluded that the incident took place near Awasse in the country’s northernmost province, Cabo Delgado.
Human rights violations
“The incident is consistent with our recent findings of appalling human rights violations and crimes under international law happening in the area,” said Muchena.
In the nearly two-minute-long video, men wearing military uniforms are seen chasing down a naked woman, surrounding her and verbally harassing her.
One of the men repeatedly beats her with a stick before another man shoots her at close range.
She is then repeatedly shot by the men as she lies in the road, before one of the men shouts, “Stop, stop, enough, it’s done.”
The clip ends as the men turn and walk away, with one of them announcing, “They’ve killed the al-Shabaab,” the local name given to the growing insurgency in the far north of the country.
The uniformed man looks directly into the camera and raises his two fingers before the recording stops.
Jaime Neto, Mozambique’s defence minister, has said the clip is fake.
He pledged to have the “malicious people” who doctored the footage paraded in front of the public and punished.
The clip was purportedly shot in Cabo Delgado, where the army has been locked in a vicious struggle with jihadists since 2017.
Neto claimed the action was faked by “malicious people” to harm the military’s image.
Perpetrators to be punished
He did not provide further details but said that those who shot the footage would be found and punished.
Troops will continue with their peacekeeping operations in the province, he added.
The footage comes amid allegations of abuses by government soldiers in Cabo Delgado.
Military forces have been struggling to regain control of the area, which is home to one of Africa’s biggest liquefied natural gas projects.
The province hosts a $60 billion natural gas development that is heavily guarded by Mozambican military and private security.